Snake Oil or Healing Tool?

As the pendulum swings from one extreme to another in the world of healing, we are beginning to move back from a place of a western symptom based medical model to a more holistic view of healing. With this shift comes an opportunity to explore more paths to healing than a one size fits all model. 

It also, however, leaves room for more predatory and/or misguided approaches that prey on our vulnerabilities and may or may not deliver what they promise. 

I knew I was on to something when I got such an engaged response to this post I shared the other day on Facebook: 

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"I have lots of amazing healer friends and I haven't seen this among those I know personally, but you know my biggest peeve about self-proclaimed "healers"? When they present that their way of "healing" is the only way and use victim blaming language like 'you have the opportunity to heal on an energetic level if you choose.' Healing is way more complicated than that and saying such things will make those who have tried tons of different things to heal keep searching outside of themselves for the "right" modality at best and feel like it's their own fault they are suffering at worst. Does our energetic and mental condition affect our physical body? Most definitely. Is it a quick fix by just going to the right person with the right modality? Rarely."

What bugs me the most about this approach to healing is that not only does it leave out those people who can't afford whatever modality they might be sharing, it conveniently gives the practitioner an "out" when people don't heal because, "they aren't trying hard enough."

Not to say that healers should not charge a reasonable sum for their time - we all need to make a living and there's something to be said for the "energy exchange" where we are more invested in our own results when we invest in in the first place. 

But to imply that there is a quick fix if only you invest in "their modality," is misguided at best, misleading and shaming at worst. 

Healing is a complicated process.

As Starr Sheppard-Decker of Radical Revelations and Embracing Intensity episode 13 commented, "I dealt with a chronic condition for years and got very tired of healers being condescending to me about my "choice" to still be sick. Yeah, cuz that helps." As a coach who works with other coaches and healers, I've always admired Starr for her holistic view of spirituality and how she demonstrates that there is no one right way. She said, "I am realizing how much this is the heart of my work - stop trying to be someone else and learn how to be YOU."

There are many paths to healing.

Eric Windhorst, counsellor and coach added, "As a trained psychotherapist and believer in the spiritual/energetic side of life and healing, I know that healing (bodily, mental, psychological, spiritual, energetic) usually takes time and is rarely straightforward. Healing is more of a spiral or web that is perhaps, never complete."

This imagery of a spiral has come up more and more in my own view of healing as well in how we handle stress. Depending on where we are in our healing spiral, different approaches might work at different times and some not at all. 

In my ongoing journey of healing, I have found two things that seem to be universally true...

Find the "We" in "Wellness"

As my friend Kat Lilore pointed out, "Moreover, because we are so very complicated (physically, mentally, psychically, spiritually), it's usually a 'group' effort when it comes to righting imbalances - especially when you consider that one effort can tip things else wise."

We do not heal in a vacuum, and no one practitioner alone will "fix us." The answer lies both within ourselves and within the power of community. While no one else can give us "the answer," they can share their own experiences and possibly ignite something in others in the process. Plus, sharing our experience with supportive community is healing in and of itself.  

To progress on your healing journey you must look within.

If you have dealt with any kind of chronic pain or fatigue in your life or even just heightened sensitivity, you probably know the temptation to ignore your body's discomfort. When little things annoy you and annoying things are excruciating - this seems like a very valid response. What I have learned over the last few years though is that the key to healing is to reconnect with your body so you can listen to it's messages. 

Janell Chandler, of Nexus Chiropractic, shared, "That's why in my chiropractic practice I teach people about mental/emotional, physical, and toxic stressors that can be affecting their nervous system. If I find they have stuck patterns that don't change, they need to add in something/someone else to the mix (or delete something from their life...but that's usually more difficult at first)."

And this is why I was drawn to learn more about Janell after a very brief meeting at a MOB NW networking event. We share a similar mission of helping others to balance their stressors and energizing activities so they can find that sweet spot where they can use their excitability, intensity, creativity and other gifts in a positive way without burning themselves out. 

Next week I'm starting a free challenge called Harness Your Power to help do just that - exploring together what tools help to balance our energy so we don't feel out of control or suppressed. I can't promise it will be a "quick fix," but I can say it is a great start towards connecting with an empathetic community and exploring your own healing experience. There's also the bonus of fun prizes for participating, including the grand prize of a free membership into my upcoming Ignite Your Power group program. 

I would love to keep the conversation going about the many paths to healing - what approaches have helped you personally and what approaches have turned you off?